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Fifty-five Associate Degree Nursing students cross stage for Pinning Ceremony

Smiles and happy tears filled the Rend Lake College James “Hummer” Waugh Gymnasium last night during the annual Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) Pinning Ceremony. This event serves as a symbolic welcoming of newly-graduated nurses into the profession.

Nursing Instructor Susan Wiley opened the event with a welcome to the 55 ADN students and words of encouragement as they take their first steps into the industry.

“You are now personal models in health care and the community, and what others inspire to be. Thank you for holding yourselves accountable to the highest standards of excellence to make sure you reach your full potential,” said Wiley. “Here’s to your class and taking steps into your future, and into the potential we knew you were capable of.”

After a prayer led by ADN student Carl Gaebe of Dix, the first class speaker – Alison Clarke of Waltonville – took the stage to share her experience and thank her classmates for two great years.

Class Speaker Alison Clarke

“We have struggled, cried and wanted to give up several times in the last few years, but here we are, finally done. I wouldn’t change it because some of my closest friendships started in this program and I will forever be thankful to all of you. I wish you all the very best,” said Clarke.

After the presentation of pins to each graduate, the second class speaker – Ronnie Brake of Woodlawn – offered some lighter words as he spoke about the personal challenges of the program. He also passed out faculty appreciation gifts with the help of classmate Kara Jarvis of Royalton.

Brake said, “This was not easy. I gained 40 pounds, I got grey hair and I’m balding, but it’s graduation, so let’s party.”

Class Speaker Ronnie Brake

The ceremony ended with each student lighting a candle and reciting the Nightingale Pledge, led by Instructor Juliana Pickford. The event closed on a special note from Instructor Lynn Salesberry.

While holding a lit candle in honor of Florence Nightingale, the recently-pinned ADN graduates recite the Nightingale Pledge. They are, FROM LEFT, Elisabeth Jones (Mt. Vernon), Wade Kaelin (Mt. Vernon), Hannah Karrer (Whittington), Sabin Kohut (Pinckneyville), Mary K. Kopshever (Pinckneyville), Emily Kuberski (Tamaroa), and Glenda Lakin (McLeansboro).
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)

“We talked several times throughout the year about what exactly it takes to be a nurse. Is it caring? Is it compassion? Is it a strong path? Is it all of the above? Today, nurses walk a delicate line between tradition and technology and computer skills and compassionate service, but we’re successful at our job,” said Salesberry. “Nurses have the very best job in the world and I have been so honored to be a part of your journey. We look forward to seeing all that you accomplish.”

A reception was held in the Aquatics Center lobby following the ceremony.

The ADN Class of 2018 is, FRONT ROW, FROM LEFT, Heather Gunther (McLeansboro), Rachel McCoy (Christopher), Micah Neal (Benton), Alison Clarke (Waltonville), Jami Cope (Pinckneyville), Katrina Templeton (Pinckneyville), Hannah Jines (Christopher), Kara Jarvis (Royalton), and Nakia Thomas (O’Fallon); SECOND ROW, Ronnie Brake (Woodlawn), Jonathan Lehman (Mt. Vernon), Brianna Linsley (West Frankfort), Hannah Karrer (Whittington), Richie Robinson (Zeigler), Sabin Kohut (Pinckneyville), Wayne Shurtz (Thompsonville), and Kendra Phillips (Lenzburg); THIRD ROW, Dave Milano (Mt. Vernon), Karleigh Turrentine (Mt. Vernon), Jenna Martin-Webb (Ewing), Casey Bowlin (Thompsonville), Renee Frazier (Tamaroa), Kim West (Mt. Vernon), Jessika Slater (Wayne City), Rachelle May (McLeansboro), Alyssa Jarvis (Royalton), and Rayla Griffith (McLeansboro); FOURTH ROW, Shylie Donoho (Bluford), Elisabeth Jones (Mt. Vernon), Alyssa Russell (Broughton), Kathy Kopshever (Pinckneyville), Melissa Dutton (Mt. Vernon), Melissa Porter (Bluford), Emily Kuberski (Tamaroa), Chacy Sizemore (Tamaroa), Olivia Zedalis (Opdyke), and Peighton Young (Carterville); FIFTH ROW, Angela Montalvo (Tamaroa), Lee Ann Garrison (Woodlawn), Shaye Page (Murphysboro), Rachel Sullivan (Thompsonville), Michele Dorris (Benton), Erin Porter (Red Bud), Alisa Wagner (Pinckneyville), and Ashleigh Beaty (Bonnie); BACK ROW, Carl Gaebe (Dix), Jared Allison (Benton), Rebecca Heil (McLeansboro), Katheryn Reeves (Salem), Wade Kaelin (Mt. Vernon), Billie Jo Cox (Ewing), Erik Williams (West Frankfort), Rebekah Holt (Mt. Vernon), and Kamillia Hathaway (Bluford).
(ReAnne Palmer / RLC Public Information)